I forgot what I could do . . .

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I finished a great three weeks with the Hudson Valley Writing Project last week–learning, writing, and forming a community with other teachers. It made me sad that I’m not returning to my own classroom this fall, but . . . I know that something’s going to happen from this!

In the meantime, I did a lot of writing during those three weeks, and I want to share this with you (and get your thoughts on it). Which version of the poem do you like better, the first–more existential–one, or the second–love–poem?!

“because it never forgot what it could do.”

—from “Famous” by Naomi Shihab Nye

 

I forgot what I could do.

I forgot that I could laugh and

that I could cry.

I forgot that I could sing . . .

in the shower,

Where no one else would hear me,

My voice ringing out sure and strong.

 

I forgot that I could carry . . .

I could carry wood from the yard to the house;

I could carry the groceries in from the car;

I could carry chicken soup up the stairs

to you when you were sick.

 

I forgot that I could see . . .

I could see the stars at night,

flickering on and off in the night sky;

I could see the stars at dusk,

fireflies flickering across the lawn;

I could see you across the room,

even if I couldn’t see you.

 

I forgot that I could remember . . .

I could remember our first date;

I could remember the feel of your hand,

sweaty palm in my own sweaty palm;

I could remember last night’s kiss goodnight.

 

I forgot that I could do all this.

I could laugh and cry and sing.

I could carry and see and remember.

All this I can do.

 

I can be.

It is enough to be,

to laugh,

to cry,

to sing,

to carry,

to see,

to remember,

to be in this world.

It is enough to be.

_______________________________________________________

“because it never forgot what it could do.”

—from “Famous” by Naomi Shihab Nye

 

I forgot what I could do.

I forgot that I could laugh and

that I could cry.

I forgot that I could sing . . .

in the shower,

Where no one else would hear me,

My voice ringing out sure and strong.

 

I forgot that I could carry . . .

I could carry wood from the yard to the house;

I could carry the groceries in from the car;

I could carry chicken soup up the stairs

to you when you were sick.

 

I forgot that I could see . . .

I could see the stars at night,

diamonds sparkling in the velvet sky;

I could see the fireflies at dusk,

stars sparkling across the lawn;

I could see you across the room,

even if I couldn’t see you.

 

I forgot that I could remember . . .

I could remember our first date;

I could remember the feel of your hand,

sweaty palm reaching out for sweaty palm;

I could remember last night’s kiss goodnight.

 

I forgot that I could do all this.

I could laugh and cry and sing.

I could carry and see and remember.

 

All this I can do.

 

I can be.

It is enough to be.

 

To be in this world

—to laugh, to cry, to sing, to carry, to see, to remember—

with you.


 

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4 thoughts on “I forgot what I could do . . .

  1. rileysh

    This is so good.  I like the first one because it says to me that it’s enough to just be me.   I can do all these things that I almost forgot were so amazing by myself.   Kind of reminds me of when I first became a widow.   When I remembered that I was capable of doing these wonderful simple things,  and just doing those things was enough. 

    Sent via the Samsung GALAXY S® 5, an AT&T 4G LTE smartphone

  2. Dara

    The first one appeals more to me. Wonderful words that apply to anyone. Thank you for sharing. Also, looking forward to what you will write next!

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